Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Seven Million Wonders: Wordless Wednesday Linky

Hello All,

I found this quote the other day.  I think it speaks volumes. Our students come to our classrooms with their eyes wide open and they are chock-full of curiosity. They want to explore, imagine, create, and be inspired. Does our teaching allow such things?

When our students leave our classrooms at the end of the day, are they still filled with that sense of wonderment?  Do they feel encouraged to ask questions?  Are they pushed to go beyond the ordinary to find those marvelous things that are all around us; those things that sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of our insanely busy lives?  Let's not squash that awe so many of our students have.  Let's harness it and make Wonder #7,000,001.

How do you inspire a sense of creativity and wonder in your classrooms? 

I'm teaming up with Ms. DeCarbo for Wordless Wednesday.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome Home, Bear: A We Love Books Linky

Hey Everybody,

Welcome Home, Bear:  A Book of Animal Habitats, by Il Sung Na, is a neat little picture book that teaches about animal habitats in a subtle way.  The illustrations are splendid, as well as the simple text.

Mr. Bear wakes up one morning bored of the same old things. This begins his search for a new home.
Throughout the adventures in the book, he comes to realize he is not well suited, or adapted for the other animals' habitats.  In the end he decides his habitat is the perfect home after all.

It's too wet in the rainforest.

It's too deep in the ocean.

It's too muddy with the hippos.
This story is a quick read that will have you asking your students, "Why doesn't he belong in the ocean or the rainforest or a desert?"  "Why is the bear having so many difficulties in a burrow?" This book will make your students think about the characteristics animals have in order to survive in their own habitats. It's a brief read for your animal adaptations Science lessons.

What books do you use to teach about animal habitats?

I'm hanging out with Mrs. Jump's Class for her We Love Books linky this week.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


{This freebie has now ended.}

Go grab it while it's free!
  My Anti-Bullying/Friendship Resource
is free for just a bit. 

See my post here to learn all about it.

Thanks!  I hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Grab it in the shop here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Digital Paper Options: Playing in Power Point

Hello Everyone,

I was playing around in Power Point this evening working on a different logo and discovered a few new things.  I thought I'd share them with you because they're kind of fun.  Maybe I'm the last to find these goodies; but if not, here we go.

So I started with a 3"x3" slide design and selected a digital paper from Elizabeth Villwock's TpT store

When I selected the image the (Picture Tools-> Format) tab came up and I chose COLOR (highlighted in red in the Northwest corner of the picture).  Look at all the new options available!

Wait! It gets more fun.  Look what happens when you click on the next tab to the right (artistic effects). Even more options! I chose the last option (a neon/black combo).

Because I wanted a round logo, I chose the oval looking frame all the way to the right. Check this out!

It was fun learning something new tonight. I can't believe I've been using Power Point for years and have never noticed these options. It opens up tons of possibilities for my digital papers/backgrounds for future projects.

What do you think of my new logos?  Yay or nay?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Establishing Classroom Rules: Picture Book Recommendations

Which is your favorite?

Hello All,

This summer seems to be zooming by at warp speed. Before you know it, school bells will be ringing around the country.  Once all the freshly sharpened pencils and shiny new crayons are put away, one of the first things we teachers focus on is establishing classroom rules, right?  Otherwise it would be Chaosville for the next nine months. I've always enjoyed hearing what classroom rules students have had in the past and how they've worked out for them.  I also love brainstorming with the kids why they think we have rules and what they think they should be.  The responses always run the gamut, but most often times teachers and students want their classrooms to be safe, respectful, and productive learning environments.  Establishing a set of classroom rules is no easy task, but here is a list of picture books that might help open up the dialogues in your classrooms.

 1) Back-to-School Rules by Laurie Friedman tells the tale of a boy named Percy that has ten basic rules for making class fun such as "no spitballs" or "no bouncing off the ceiling". 

2) Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes will help you discuss topics of respect, self-esteem, and accepting others for who they are. 

3) David Goes to School by David Shannon is a classic for the younger ones. Mischievous David is a real trouble-maker as he breaks all the rules.  Your students will be glad David is not in your class.
4) Never Ride Your Elephant to School by Doug Johnson will help you and your students recognize events that shouldn't happen at school.  Can you imagine an elephant trying to sit in your desk?
5) Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco is a story of a fifth grade girl who believes it when her classmates think she is dumb because she can't read. Thankfully, her teacher Mr. Falker believes in her and encourages her to prove her classmates wrong.  This is a great book to teach about teasing, self-esteem, and encouragement.
 6) The Worst Day of My Life Ever by  Julia Cook will teach students the importance of listening and following directions, and the consequences when they don't.
7) Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann will remind students of important safety tips from Officer Buckle and his trusty sidekick dog named Gloria.  Gloria's antics will have your students laughing throughout the whole book.
8) The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco is a feel-good story of a teacher who encourages her 'outsider' students to create something wonderful out of very little. This is a wonderful book of encouragement and unity, and what can happen when our students come together to help one another.
9) Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes is a beloved story about a young mouse that makes a huge mistake when she writes a cruel note to her teacher, and why it is important to ask for forgiveness when we mess up.
10)  Lacey Walker Nonstop Talker by Christianne Jones will help your students see the benefits of listening to each other, rather than always leading the conversations.
11) Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller will help your kids conclude that by simply following the Golden Rule, they will be much better friends and neighbors to one another.

12) No Rules For Rex by Daisy Alberto will show what happens when there are no rules (and why they really are needed).

13)  The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt takes the reader on a crazy trek through the lives of a group of crayons that go on strike.  Your students will come to realize that it's okay to have emotions and feelings, but it is how we deal with them that counts.

14) What If Everybody Did That? by  Ellen Javernick teaches students to think about their actions and the subsequent consequences. The numerous cause and effect scenarios will make students realize that they are all responsible for creating a fun and safe classroom.
Don't these look like fun reads?  I hope they help you with those first few weeks of school.

If you are looking for a set of classroom rules posters that are ready to go, I have made up a set that follows closely to the Whole Brain Teaching's philosophy. The best part is that they are editable, so after you've come up with your classroom's set of rules, you can edit the templates and make your own (up to five rules) if you wish!  You can find my Class Rules Poster Set-Editable in my TpT Shop.

Here's a quick preview.

Easy to edit!

What books do you use to establish classroom rules with your students?  I'd love to hear about them.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Do You Wish For Your Students This Year?

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are having a great week.

I am joining Ms. DeCarbo's Wordless Wednesday link-up to bring you a book that I think you are going to love.

Tiny Wish
by Lori Evert is a whimsical journey of a little girl who gets separated from her siblings when playing a game of hide-and seek.  With the help of some animal friends and a granted wish to become tiny, she goes on an amazing adventure while trying to find her way back home. My daughter and I loved this book for its storytelling and wonderful photograph illustrations.  I will use it at the beginning of the year when students are creating goals/wishes.  I wish for my students to be leaders working to the best of their abilities, to be positive role models, and giving of themselves.

What wishes do you have for your students this year?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Parts of a Good Friend

Making and keeping good friends can be hard work, right?  Remembering back to grade school, some kids were just easier to get along with, and others you knew to avoid. I was thinking the other day about my best friends.  Even though they live in different states, we always manage to encourage, support and lift one another up when needed.   This life can be hard at times.  Lord knows we could all use a few more good friends.

What makes a good friend?  This is what I came up with.  Simple and sweet; it's something I'd like to pass along to my students. If nothing else, to help curb the amount of bullying we keep hearing about. 

My eyes are to pay attention to you when you are speaking.
My mouth is to encourage you, to compliment you, and to smile.
My heart is for caring about how you feel.
My hands are to give you a hug or a high five and help when you need it.
My ears are to listen to a good or bad day, or to hear your exciting, new ideas

I whipped up these posters for the classroom as a reminder of how to be a good friend. I think they will be great at the beginning of the year when I'm setting up our classroom rules and cultivating a positive classroom culture.

There is a boy and girl version in both black and white, or color.

You can find them in my TpT store here.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Periscope: Okay for the Classroom?

Hey Y'all,

It's Tech Tip Thursday and I'm checking out Periscope this week and linking up with the Teaching Trio.

I am having a blast watching all the action at the TpT Vegas Conference.  I would love to go someday, but until then, I am so grateful to the teachers who are getting in front of the camera and letting us in on the action.  It makes those of us who couldn't attend feel like we are there just a little bit.

I've watched a handful of Periscope broadcasts today.  I have found it rather fun to be invited to watch a broadcast live and be able to join in by commenting or 'hearting' what's onscreen. Although all the brave souls I've watched today have encouraged those watching to turn the cameras on themselves; this chica has a bad case of #periscopeanxiety.  Being a bit of an introvert, it may be a while before I bite the bullet and do it, but I do think our students would love this app.  What kid doesn't love being in front of a camera?

What is Periscope?
Periscope is Twitter's newest acquisition.  It allows you to go where your friends go, without the cost of a plane ticket. I would say it's similar to Skype or Google Hangouts, but with more of a social media/interaction component. Broadcasters can live-stream from a mobile device whatever is in front of them and interact with an audience. When one is ready to broadcast, a Tweet is sent out to followers so they can tune in live. Viewers are encouraged to comment during the live broadcast and show the presenters some love while 'hearting' or liking the content.  If you are unable to catch the live broadcast, you are able to view it for 24 hours; however you are not able to comment if viewing a playback.  

What are possible uses in the classroom?  
Why not tag along with another class half-way around the world on a field trip? Maybe you could send get-well wishes to a student or classmate who is out with the chicken pox.  Perhaps it could be used for campus tours or comparing and contrasting schools around the world.  Could you use it for homework help, or a live tutoring situation?  The live feedback could be more of a Q&A.   Just some thoughts.

Concerns for the Classroom Teacher
From my limited experience with the app today, I would be a little hesitant to use it with students at this time.  My first reservation would deal with privacy concerns and showing students' faces in a broadcast.  Unless you are filming over your students' shoulders and not showing their faces, I would be careful.  Secondly, I was a bit put off when commenters that were obviously not invited to the broadcast were making somewhat vulgar comments throughout the live feeds. Unless there is a way to block certain commenters, teachers would have to be very aware of who was posting during a live segment.  This could be difficult to do when you are trying to present material, view comments, and manage a classroom all at the same time.

For now Periscope seems like a fun little app that can let you get in front of a camera and feel the encouragement from your followers.  It can be a useful tool for building your professional learning network and connecting with fellow teachers: sharing tips, strategies, and different locales for example. However, this app, in my opinion has a ways to go before it will be in my classroom rotation. 

What do you think?


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge #3 and a Little Freebie!

Hey Everybody,

I am super excited to share with you my project for the TpT Seller Challenge #3.  I think it is going to be a useful little tool for those first few weeks back to school, when we are all trying to create a positive learning environment for our kids.

Bullying, unfortunately is a big issue for many kids, so I hope this resource can assist you.  You can explore with your students what bullying looks like, how it makes others feel, and what good friends do.  There is also an opinion writing task, game, and craftivity; as well as some other goodies.

 Here's a little peek!

The Eye Opener activity will give you a glimpse of how many of your students have been treated poorly or seen bullying.  You can post the questions on large poster paper around the room and have students mark with a sticky note or symbol; or have them raise their hand with their eyes closed to answer each question, to keep responses more private. 

There are also these cute little posters in black/white or color, and both genders to help students see that they should use their body to help others; not hurt.

I also threw in a little ditty for you to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".  It's short and sweet. (Go San Francisco Giants!) 

Here are a few more pages from the "Friends" section of the unit.  The left image helps students figure out what they should do when they see bullying with a three step process.  1) Tell the bully to stop. 2) Check to see if the victim is okay.  3) Go and get help.  I think so many times students are afraid to step up for fear that they will incur consequences from the bully later. However, the cycle will never end if someone is not alerted.  I also like this Friendship Goals page.  It is an easy way for students to write down different ways of becoming a better friend.  Perhaps they could invite someone new to eat with them at lunch, or try to compliment a different person each day.  I can't wait to see what the kids come up with as their goals!

The following pages will help your students brainstorm who they believe is a great friend.  The first page could be a review of adjectives, and the second will help set up their paragraphs nicely.  I like that the reasons are supported by examples.  Lined writing pages are included. Woohoo!

 I love including games in my products, and this one is no exception.  The "Please Don't Sting Me" game has 24 situation cards that help students reflect on feelings and what should be done if they are exposed to bullying.

Forget those pre-made bulletin board sets!  Let your students help make one.  Included in this resource is a bulletin board banner (approximately 8"x42").

Check out the cute little craftivity to put with it!  Students will list different ways to be a good neighbor.  Easy peasy bulletin board.

To wrap it all up, there are a few goodies at the end, such as these stickers. Just pick up some sticker project paper and your students will have a sweet little reminder that they should be kind to one another.

There is a list of literature and web links to help with this project too.  It's 41 pages in all!

Let's keep reminding our students that we should always try to treat others the way they'd like to be treated. Some days it's difficult, but we have to keep fighting the good fight, right?

Finally, here's a little tiny freebie for you.  
You can grab it in my TpT store here.

Have a good one!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rainbows and Jumping Jacks

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a fabulous 4th of July.  We grilled some burgers, ate some ice cream, took a dip in the pool, and lit a few sparklers.

The little and I also did a little math over the long weekend.  Thanks to Tara West of Little Minds at Work, my daughter and I had fun introducing the different ways to make 10 with this simple (and free) rainbow printable.   She loved everything about it!

We used crayons as our counters on each side of the rainbow. I also made her write the addition equations in her math notebook.  She noticed after just a few examples that all of the equations were adding up to ten.

After she wrote her equation in her notebook and colored her arch, we did some jumping jacks to model the addends and add some movement. As Marcia Tate would say, "We're growing some dendrites here!"   What I really loved was when she was showing her dad what she had been working on, she was so proud of her work.  Her father kept asking her different ways to make ten, and Little One kept running back to her notebook to find the missing number. So cute! Also, have you ever seen a four year old do jumping jacks?  It just makes my heart melt.

When we were reviewing the different addition sentences, I love how she kept moving her finger over the arches from one addend to the other. Although this looks like a simple activity, it was a fantastic one that grew into a multi-faceted learning project. My little really enjoyed it.   Hands-on activities with movement really helps the learning process be enjoyable for all involved.

Now I need a break from all those jumping jacks.  Phew!